Maniac Magee
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Maniac Magee

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  84,606 ratings  ·  2,722 reviews
Jeffrey Lionel "Maniac" Magee might have lived a normal life if a freak accident hadn't made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run--and not just run away, but run. This is where the myth of Maniac Magee begins, as he changes the lives of a racially divided small town with his amazing and legendary feats.

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Paperback, 184 pages
Published April 30th 2002 by Scholastic (first published 1990)
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Best Young Adult Books
98th out of 9,484 books — 56,260 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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David
He wasn't born with the name Maniac Magee. He came into this world named Jeffrey Lionel Magee, but when his parents died and his life changed, so did his name. Maniac Magee took to the streets.

And Maniac Magee became a legend.

Even today kids talk about how fast he could run; about how he hit an inside-the-park "frog" homer; how no knot, no matter how snarled, would stay that way once he began to untie it. Little girls jumping rope chant:
"Ma-niac, Ma-niac
He's so cool
Ma-niac, Ma-niac
Don't go t...more
Liz
I really didn't enjoy this book. I feel like the story didn't really go anywhere. Spinelli tried to touch on issues of racial prejudice and poverty, and let the exsistance of those issues carry his story. It didn't work. However because there are touchy issues, it becomes a story that isn't easy to complain about. However I'll be brave enough to say, "I didn't like it!".

As a personal note, I do not find this novel appropriate for children still in gradeschool.
Dawn
A really neat book. Excellent! Definitely deserving of its Newbery Award. I think I have to give it a 5! I find myself asking, "Why didn't I ever read this before?" I've certainly heard of it for years. My fourth grade daughter just read it at school and loved it. I really enjoyed the narrative voice and style. It starts out almost like a tall tale, but what Maniac really accomplished is better than a legend. So it's a meaningful story that teaches an important lesson without being preachy. The...more
Nelson B.
Jerry spinelli is one of the best witers ever. Maniac Magee is a realistic fictionbook because maniac is invented but it could happen in real life.The perents of Maniac Magee died in a trolley crash.Maniac Magee was an orphan so his aunt and uncle adoped him.Maniac did"t like their house because they cant share.One day Maniac ran away because the hated in his aunt and uncle house.When he left he went to Two mills.In TWO MILLS it is white V.S black.I have schema with this book because maniac put...more
rabbitprincess
Nov 29, 2009 rabbitprincess rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommended to rabbitprincess by: Grade 6 teacher
How can a kid be allergic to PIZZA? There are so many things in a pizza that it's hard to be allergic to all of them without having a severely limited diet. You can have celiac disease and not be able to tolerate the crust, you can be lactose intolerant and not like the cheese, you might not be able to digest meat properly so that would ix-nay the pepperoni, you may have a seafood allergy so you wouldn't be able to have shrimp on the pizza, and you might not be able to eat certain vegetables. Bu...more
Rodolfo A.
I love this book because is telling me the time
when black people and white people were seperted.

This book is realistic fiction because there and
made up characters but,this happend real that black people
and white people were seperted.

Maniac parents died from a trolly crash.Maniac didn't have any
were to live so,he is an orphan.He met a girl name Amanda.Maniac
wentto amanda's house and lived with her.Later he met a boy name
mar bars.Some people from the west side and east side haet him so,
he went to...more
Sasha
Mar 10, 2008 Sasha rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: NO ONE
Recommended to Sasha by: MY TEACHER.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Patti Richards
Wow! Maniac Magee has to be one of the best middle grade novels I have ever read. The storyline is fascinating, but the mixture of reality, conjecture and legend is what kept me turning pages. I loved the hero, and I especially love the family from the “other side of town” that takes him in. They way they pour love into his lost little soul is amazing and very believable. I also really liked the way the author removed him from that home and gave him the ability to love the old man. Had he gone t...more
Shel
Spinelli, J. (1990). Maniac Magee. New York: Little, Brown and Company.

0316809063

As an orphan, Jeffrey Magee is sent to live with his aunt and uncle who live separately within their house and refuse to share anything. At the age of eleven, Jeffrey, unable to deal with his aunt and uncle’s refusal to interact or communicate, runs away. A year later, he appears in a strictly racially segregated town, doing amazing feats and running like a mad man, earning him the nickname, Maniac. Quick to make...more
Becky Bishop
My absolute favorite book. Yes it is a children's book, but it is so amazing. You will not want to put it down. I read it to my class every year. I have only known about it for 4 years now. I wanted to read a book to my class and let everyone have a copy. We have literature sets at our school for checkout and Maniac Magee had the most copies, so I chose it. I didn't know anything about the book, but we read it as a class and I absolutely would recommend that everyone read it even if you are out...more
Elysa
Really good book! I read it more than once!
Rachel
It seems a sacrilege to not like this book. It has an excellent message, but the book wasn’t a good vehicle for getting this message across. The character of Maniac Magee is flat and unrealistic. He has no flaws, can do no wrong, and rarely exhibits real emotion. He is loved by all, completes amazing feats of bravery, athleticism, and intelligence, and changes the entire town he lives in. That kind of character isn’t realistic. The book never establishes if this is a fantasy world (where a boy c...more
Stephen
This WOULD have been a childhood favorite. If it had been written 30 years earlier. As it is, it's a wonderful, light-hearted, good spirited book that deserves to be read by children of all ages (including those in their 50's)

Yes, it's a kid's book, but it's a fast fun read and adults would be well advised to give it a read as well. While it has much the same allegorical feel as Holes, in some ways it avoids a few of the pitfalls of that book.

As with any good fiction, there's some truth hidden...more
Mrs. Rogers
This is my ultime favorite book! I love the determination and survival techniques that Maniac Magee displays and the positive evolution of the character. This novel will warm your heart and you will read that everyone can and should be loved. Your eyes will play magic tricks on you as you read and can visualize the line of racial tension start to fade away.
Crain Taylor
Maniac Magee is a wonderfully written book about the adventures of a young boy named Jeffery Magee, whose parents unfortunately died in a tragic accident when he was very young. The story follows Jeffery through many trials as he strives to find his place in the world. More than anything, Jeffery longs for an address - any place he can call home. Throughout his adventures, Jeffery changes the lives of all the people he encounters. He quickly gets nicknamed "Maniac" for some of the crazy stunts h...more
Jeffrey Mohr
This book is one of my favorite books to use when I work with students. It approaches the concept of “race” and “racism” through the eyes of someone that just wants to make friends and doesn't understand why people would treat others differently just because of their looks. It also treats the main character as a whole person and shows the turmoil he goes through while dealing with the loss of loved ones and the sadness and depression that can result from that. Students need to see books that don...more
Christopher Spinosa
Maniac Magee, in my perspective, was very interesting, with multiple scene changes and multiple characters that had importance in specific times of his life. This story is about Maniac Magee, a boy who just wanted to live a normal life, until his parents die in a freak accident, and he has to live with his uncle, who hates his wife, and they all live miserably. Maniac hates this, and decides to run away to find a new home. He encounters many people and families and who are willing to let him liv...more
Kristin
In my continuing quest to read all of the books Roosevelt students read in their language arts classes, I picked up Maniac Magee to read over winter break. I’m glad I did. Jerry Spinelli tells the story of Maniac Magee, an orphan who escapes an aunt and uncle who don’t communicate and becomes famous around town for his skills in sports, untying knots, and running. I liked Maniac’s observations on the ridiculousness of a town split by race and his efforts to improve race relations in his own smal...more
Nika
When Jeffrey Magee loses the only family he has ever known, he hits the road running. He has no way of knowing that his journey will turn him into the very family that OTHER lonely people are needing ... and will turn him into a son over and over again.

I adore this precious book! I thought about reading it aloud to my classes, but have now decided that I desire each student to have a personal experience with the book, should he choose to read it. My favorite element of this story is that it is t...more
Julesmarie
Just re-read this so I could remind myself what happens in it before recommending it to a student.

I enjoyed it so much more than I remember enjoying it the first time! Jeffrey/Maniac is a fantastically-written character, the tone of the writing was brilliant, and the end totally made me cry.

This is one of those books that leaves me feeling honored to have been able to accompany the main character on his adventures. I'm astounded at Jeffrey's compassion and kindness after all he's been through in...more
Michelle Delgado
This book is a tribute to the human spirit.Jefferey Magee aka Maniac Magee is one of the best heroes in fiction.He is a hero not because of all the amazing things he does like running on the train rails,hitting home runs etc- but because of his capacity to love others. Maniac has almost everything against him. He has no parents, no family, no home, no food but he keeps on trucking running in his case. He does have have a few things however. These are courage,hope,tenacity,kindness,inteligence an...more
Magaly A.
This amazing book is spectacular and awesome I will probaly give it five stars because it has feelings in it and beutiful ending.This genre is realistic-fiction.This book is about this kid called Maniac that his mom and dad died from a trolly.Also Maniac Magee always gives bad luck when he goes to another house becuase in the Beals there was a letter that said "fishbelly go home".There is a town called Two Mills were it is separeted betteween black and white.Another thing that Maniac gave bad lu...more
Maddie
This book is quite possibly one of the most poorly written works of fiction I have ever had the misfortune to stumble upon. I personally am not a fan of Jerry Spinelli (with the exception of Stargirl), and thought I would give him one last shot. Not only was the writing itself unbearable and slow, the topic is overused and cliché. The emotions are few and far between. Throw in there a sad, pathetic kid whose life does not improve whatsoever and some other worthless surface characters and you hav...more
Erik This Kid Reviews Books
Jeffrey Magee hated living with his aunt and uncle who hated each other, but he had no choice because his parents died in a trolley accident and he was an orphan. After putting up with his aunt and uncle for years, Jeffrey finally snaps and runs… and runs… and runs. He runs away and keeps running. He ends up in Two Mills, Pennsylvania. Jeffrey soon gets a reputation of being that “Maniac” kid because he is so fast no one can beat him and he is an expert at all kinds of sports. Jeffrey is homeles...more
Patrick Allen
I simply hate it when people that I despise do something nice for me. It makes me approach them outside of the single-dimensional dislike I have for them. I then have to approach them as a multifaceted person who has real motivations for the way they are.
Maniac Magee is an example of YAL where ALL of the characters are like this. Unlike Scouts complete descriptions of why everything is the way it is in "To Kill a Mockingbird," readers are often presented with the truth that Maniac sees, and then...more
Lucas
My teacher made my class read this book. And as always, she made it a living hell (so I guess my opinion may be slightly biased). The book was of moderate satisfaction to me. It had a great beginning. It was powerful, and promising. However, the book slowly deteriorated into something annoying. It seemed like a really good idea, just poorly executed. With all of the powerful racial themes, I would suspected there to be something strong and moving, but Jerry disappointed me. The plot became, slow...more
Jin Huh
Jerry Spinelli has done it again. Like Stargirl, Maniac Magee danced around me and left me speechless. How does he do that?

By presenting characters like Maniac to be tested in their principles by exterior forces that strive to tear down their blissful way of thinking, Spinelli hits on the core of every developing human being: how long can I hold onto innocence and childhood daydreams before I am exhausted and jaded enough to blend in with the rest? The question takes the reader on a whole new j...more
Matt Bailey
Maniac Magee, by Jerry Spinelli, tells the crazy story of Jeffery Lionel Magee and his search for somewhere he can call home. The story starts out explaining the death of Jeffery’s parents and his move in with his aunt and uncle. Jeffery is soon displeased living with his aunt and uncle because they never speak to one another and runs away to a town called Two Mills. Two Mills is separated by the East End, where the blacks live, and the West End, where the whites live. Jeffery’s first encounter...more
Kathi

This is another book that I read, appreciated, and recommended to my students many years ago.

As I reread Spinelli's book, the word "Dated" kept coming into my brain. “Children don't need books dealing with racism anymore,” I thought. “So old-fashioned...” “We've come a long way in twenty years!”

And…
I hope I'm right. But possibly I'm not, or perhaps we’ve not come as far as I would like to think. Maniac Magee’s story still might be apropos, still could be current.

If so, Maniac is the best liter...more
Tom
I'm 21 years old, but only just now read this one.

Fantastic. My mind is still reeling from this one.

I can tell why this is a classic of children's literature: it doesn't treat the reader as an idiot, like most works in the genre. It also didn't assume children can't handle these issues, which is saying something considering how dark the story becomes at points.

Spinelli wrote a vivid and enduring character with Maniac. In doing so, he edged a very fine line; at points Maniac almost drifted into M...more
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When Jerry Spinelli was a kid, he wanted to grow up to be either a cowboy or a baseball player. Lucky for us he became a writer instead.

He grew up in rural Pennsylvania and went to college at Gettysburg College and Johns Hopkins University. He has published more than 25 books and has six children and 16 grandchildren.
Jerry Spinelli began writing when he was 16 — not much older than the hero of his...more
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17 trivia questions
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“Nobody knows who said it first, but somebody must have: 'Kid's gotta be a maniac.” 19 likes
“Vowels were something else. He didn't like them and they didn't like him. There were only five of them, but they seemed to be everywhere. Why, you could go through twenty words without bumping into some of the shyer consonants, but it seemed as if you couldn't tiptoe past a syllable without waking up a vowel. Consonants, you know pretty much where you stood, but you could never trust a vowel.” 16 likes
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